The Baykar TB-2 conducted its first missile strike in Ukrainian service on October 26, engaging a howitzer used by pro-Russian separatists to fire on Ukrainian positions near the village of Hranitne. Shelling from the position had killed an Ukrainian soldier and injured another prior to the mission.
In a statement, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that a battery of D-30 122mm howitzers started shelling Ukrainian positions at 14:25 local time. While the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine had sent a diplomatic note calling for the battery to cease fire, the shelling continued.
As a result, Lieutenant General Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, personally approved the missile strike. A single missile destroyed one of the battery’s three D-30s, after which the shelling stopped. According to the General Staff, the TB-2 did not cross the Line of Contact in the Donbass at any point during its sortie. The statement was accompanied by targeting footage of the engagement. The footage in question had been leaked earlier today, with some observers noting that the incident was a possible Ukrainian violation of the Minsk II agreement governing the ceasefire in the Donbass.
Ukraine’s Joint Forces Command had issued a denial earlier today that the Ukrainian military had violated the agreement, following claims by the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic that Ukrainian forces had taken the village of Staromarievka. Instead, the command noted that separatists in the area had fired on Ukrainian positions with heavy weapons restricted by the agreement (artillery over 100mm is required to be no closer than 50 kilometers or 31 miles away from frontlines), dismissing the accusations as an attempt to discredit Kyiv.
The Ukrainian military reported several other ceasefire violations by separatist forces that took place on the same day. Heavy machine gun and automatic grenade launcher fire was reported near the village of Novozvanivka, while an anti-tank guided missile was launched near Troitske. An unmanned aerial vehicle was also reported to have been used to drop 30mm grenades on Ukrainian positions near the village Pavlopil. However, only the shelling near Hranitne resulted in casualties.